How Far Can Wingsuits Fly? (Plus The World Records)

A wingsuit pilot in a blue wingsuit flying over a snowy mountain landscape.
A Wingsuit Pilot Soaring Through The Sky

Humans have dreamt of flying for centuries. Due to the invention of wingsuits, we got as close as possible to actual flying. But ever wonder – how far exactly can we fly with a wingsuit?

The farthest recorded wingsuit flight is 19.9 miles (32.1 km). The average wingsuit flight distance is 3.4 miles (5.5 km), strongly depending on the jump and parachute deployment height. Wingsuits have a glide ratio of 3:1, meaning that they cover 3 vertical feet for every horizontal one.

Skydiving daredevils continue to push the boundaries of what we thought was possible. Below I will cover some of the farthest wingsuits and ways to increase the flying distance of wingsuits even further.

The Rule Of Thumb To Calculate The Flying Distance Of Wingsuits

Wingsuits have a glide ratio of 3:1 during normal weather conditions. In other words, a wingsuit will travel 3 feet forward for every foot of descent. Most wingsuit pilots exit the aircraft at 10,000 ft and fly in a belly-earth position. They will then cover approximately 3.4 miles (5.5 km) before they open the parachute at around 4,000 ft (1,200 m).

You can simply calculate the travel distance of a wingsuit flight with the following formula:
(Exit Altitude – Altitude of Parachute Deployment) x Glide Ratio = Flying Distance

If you do not want to make the calculations yourself, I quickly put together a table below:

Jump height in feet (meters)Parachute deployment height in feet (meters)Flying distance in miles (kilometers)
15,000 ft (4,572 m)2,500 ft (762 m)7.1 mi (11.4 km)
15,000 ft (4,572 m)4,000 ft (1,219 m)6.3 mi (10.1 km)
10,000 ft (3,048 m)4,000 ft (1,219 m)3.4 mi (5.5 km)
5,000 ft (1,524 m)450 ft (137 m)2.6 mi (4.2 km)
3,000 ft (914 m)450 ft (137 m)1.4 mi (2.3 km)
1,000 ft (304 m)450 ft (137 m)0.3 mi (0.5 km)
An Overview Of Flying Distance Depending On Jump And Parachute Deployment Heights

However, the distance of wingsuit flying is not only impacted by the parachute jump and parachute deployment height. Below is a summary of the five factors that can help wingsuit pilots cover a longer distance on their wingsuit flights.

Five Factors That Can Affect The Distance Of The Wingsuit Flight

1. Jump And Parachute Deployment Height Impact The Wingsuit Flying Distance

As we already covered that I will not dive too deeply into them. Just let me note that especially the jumping height is continuously pushed and increased by daredevils.

For example, James Petrolia achieved the highest altitude for wingsuit flying (skydiving) when he jumped from a height of 37,426 ft (11,407 m) and flew a distance of 16.5 miles (26.5 km).

Valery Rozov performed the highest BASE jump using a wingsuit in 2016. He jumped from a height of 25,300 ft (7,700 m) on Cho Oyu (6th highest mountain in the world) and could almost travel 5.1 miles (8.2 km) before deploying his parachute.

Watch Valery Rozov Jumping From the Cho Oyu – The Highest Recorded Base Jump

The following four factors all influence the flying distance of wingsuits because they determine the glide ratio. On average, the glide ratio is 3:1, however, with the right conditions skydivers can achieve a glide ratio of 5:1 or even 6:1.

Considering Valery’s jump in extreme altitudes, you might wonder how skydivers manage their breathing? Explore my article that demystifies if skydivers face breathing challenges and provides insights into breathing techniques and related considerations. Get ready for an eye-opening revelation in this engaging read

2. The Wingsuit Type Influences The Flying Distance

There are all different kinds of specialized wingsuits that are created for world record attempts or incredible stunts of professional skydivers. The rise of sponsors such as Red Bull or BMW has supported this trend, thereby pushing the development of new technologies.

However, for most skydivers or wingsuit pilots, it is best to classify the different wingsuit types depending on the level of experience of the wearer. The biggest difference between them is the size of the wings and the reinforcement material used.

  • Beginner wingsuits: Skydivers with no previous experience in wingsuit flying should consider using beginner wingsuits. Interestingly, these suits feature smaller wings and therefore have a lower glide ratio than 3:1. It is easier to gradually introduce beginners to wingsuit flying with smaller wings because it is simpler to regain control if the suit goes out of control.
  • Intermediate wingsuits: Intermediate wingsuits are best suited for skydivers with at least 35 prior wingsuit jumps. They are excellent for those transitioning to more advanced piloting skills. These suits have larger wing surfaces, which generate more lift and power, typically resulting in a 3:1 glide ratio. However, they can be more challenging maneuvering, particularly in windy conditions. They are ideal for activities such as aerial photography, head-down flying, belly position, and formation flying.
  • Advanced (expert) wingsuits: Wearing these wingsuits requires a minimum of 200 wingsuit jumps. They are designed for competition and often have large surface areas with strongly supported leading edges. They also feature air inlets at the back allowing for more risky maneuvers. With an expert wingsuit, it is possible to achieve a glide ratio of 6:1

Did you know that wingsuits are made of highly specialized materials and that different wingsuit types are made of different materials? If you want to know about the advantages and tradeoffs of different materials and wingsuits, check out this post.

3. Body Position Determines The Glide Ratio Of Skydivers And Wingsuit Flyers Alike

Wingsuit pilots can improve their horizontal glide by maintaining the correct body position, which includes keeping a straight body, a slight arch without dropping the knees, and de-arching the hips. To avoid unintentional spins, the pilot must ensure symmetrical arm and leg movements.

When being in the right position, skydivers can change their angle of attack relative to the wind to determine their glide ratio. A strong understanding of wingsuit aerodynamics is therefore required.

A low angle of attack reduces drag and increases speed, while a high angle of attack increases drag and reduces speed. Adjusting the angle of attack according to the wind can provide the best glide and optimal results.

Wingsuit pilots manipulate their flight path, fall rate, speed and glide ratio by adjusting their body movements by moving their arms, legs, rolling their shoulders and such. These adjustments can only be achieved through rigorous training , sharp focus, excellent body awareness and consistent practice. In my blog post about how skydivers maneuver while falling, I explain the essentials of how wingsuit flyers and skydivers utilize the same technical concepts in aerodynamics during freefall.

4. Pilot Weight Relative To Surface Area Influences Flying Distance

The overall weight of a wingsuit pilot (i.e., the weight of the pilot, wingsuit, and parachute) can affect the flight path, fall rate, speed, and glide ratio of the skydiver.

However, it does not simply hold true that more weight leads to a lower glide ratio. It is more important to look at the relationship between weight and surface area. The weight determines the gravitational pull whereas the surface area determines the air resistance.

Once the gravitational pull equals the air resistance, the wingsuit flyer has reached terminal velocity, i.e., his maximum falling speed.

I explained more about these effects in an article about the terminal velocity of skydivers.

In other words, if two objects – or in this case wingsuit flyers – have the same weight and same surface area they experience the same gravitational pull and same air resistance, resulting in the same falling speed and attainable glide ratio.

However, if two wingsuit flyers have the same surface area but one only has half the weight, the lighter one will be able to attain a better glide ratio. If the heavier skydiver was to double his surface area, he would be able to reach the same glide ratio.

The Farthest and Fastest Record-Breaking Wingsuit Flights in History
Overview of the Farthest and Fastest Wingsuit Flights Recorded in History

5. Weather Conditions Affect Flying Distance Of Wingsuits

Weather conditions are so important because depending on the wind and the wind direction, the wind can help the wingsuit pilot to reach higher speeds and therefore flying distance.

If a wingsuit pilot flies with the wind, the speed increases. If he flies against the wind, his speed decreases.

For example, if the wind is blowing at a speed of 10 mph, a pilot flying in the same direction as the wind will see an increase in their speed by 10 mph. One flying in the opposite direction will experience a decrease in speed by the same amount.

Having a higher speed results in a more favorable glide ratio as the wingsuit flyer will cover more horizontal distance than with a lower speed but will descend at the same rate. This can make a big difference when trying to set a new world record.

Wingsuit pilots need to ensure that they monitor the temperature and the wind forecast well in advance of jumping and they need to be aware of how strong the wind is at the exit altitude, parachute deployment altitude, and ground for them to experience better glide during the flight.

However, wind can also affect other aspects of a flight distance, such as jumping height and body position. Therefore, it’s important to take into account all weather conditions before attempting a flight in a wingsuit.

  • Weather conditions impact the jumping height: If the weather conditions are not good, the wingsuit flyer might not be able to jump at all or from a lower altitude. As we have seen above, it makes a huge difference in the flying distance if the wingsuit flyer exits 5,000 ft lower than initially intended.
  • Weather conditions impact the parachute deployment height: The weather conditions, specifically clouds, can affect the visibility of wingsuit pilots. Poor visibility can cause disorientation and make it more difficult for pilots to locate their intended dropzone. It puts them in danger if they fly too close to obstacles such as rocks, trees, or the ground. As a result, wingsuit pilots need to deploy the parachute at a higher altitude.
  • Weather conditions impact the body position: Visibility determines the position wingsuit flyers are able to fly in. If a pilot finds themselves flying in low-level clouds, they must adjust their position to a belly-to-earth position, which will decrease their speed and distance, as this will reduce the risk of collisions with other wingsuit pilots or aircrafts.

If you’re also in search of comparable exhilarating experiences that do not depend on the weather as much, I’ve curated a comprehensive guide outlining 13 activities that you will enjoy if you like skydiving, Diving into their unique features and commonalities, this blog post provides a range of options tailored to your preferences, including considerations for location and seasonality.

Five of the Farthest Wingsuit Flights in History

How far skydivers can push the above-described factors is best illustrated by looking at the world’s farthest jumps.

Get to know, some of the most daring wingsuits professionals!

SkydiverType of jumpFlying distanceYearExit heightParachute deployment height
Kyle LobpriesHALO jump19.9 mi
(32.1 km)
201636,215 ft
(11,038 m)
3,002 ft
(915 m)
Andy StumpfHALO jump18.5 mi
(29.7 km)
201536,500 ft
(11,125 m)
1,700 ft
(518 m)
Shin ItoHALO jump17.8 mi
(28.7 km)
Valery RozovBASE Jump5.1 miles
(8.2 km)
201625,300 ft
(7,700 m)
Alexey GaldaCompetition rules3.19 mi
(5.1 km)
20179,843 ft
(3,000 m)
6,562 ft
(2,000 m)
An Overview Of The Most Incredible Wingsuit Jumps Performed

1. Kyle Lobpries – Exited From an Airplane and Flew a Distance of 19.9 Miles!

On 30 May 2016, Kyle Lobpries, a Marine Corps pilot, skydiver, and BASE jumper from Davis California broke the record for “the greatest absolute distance flown in a wingsuit” with 19.9 miles (32.1 km).

On Memorial Day, Kyle jumped out of the iconic Cessna Caravan aircraft at the height of 36,215 ft (11,038 m) over Yolo County, California. He faced an icing issue on his mask due to the minus 52 degrees temperature, causing breathing difficulties. He eventually fixed it by breaking the mask.

The entire flight was supported by downwind (around 20 knots) which gave him the little push that he needed to maintain his horizontal glide ratio. He flew for about 8 minutes and 27 seconds before safely deploying his parachute at around 3,002 ft (915 m).

His wingsuit flight was validated by two judges from Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI) and Guinness Book Records.

Up to this date, Kyle still holds the world record!

Kylie Lobries’ World Record-Setting Jump

2. Andy Stumpf – Jumped Out of an Airplane and Flew 18.5 Miles!

Before Kylie broke the record, Andy Stumpf held the record for “the greatest absolute distance flown in a wingsuit” which he had set in 2015. Andy, a former Navy SEAL, skydiver, BASE jumper, and public speaker flew a distance of 18.5 miles (29.8 km) before safely landing.

The project was made possible through a partnership with Skull Candy and aimed to raise $1 million for the Navy Seal Foundation (in honor and tribute to the fallen Navy Seals and their families). It was also dedicated to the memory of the world record wingsuit pilot Johnathan Florez.

Andy jumped out of a modified Cessna Caravan at an altitude of 36,500 and a temperature of minus 60 degrees, requiring him to wear oxygen support. He flew at a horizontal speed of around 140 mph and his flight lasted for about 8 minutes.

Andy was only wearing altimeters on his sides and no chest altimeter. As a BASE jumper, he was able to correctly judge the distance using only his eyes and deployed his parachute at around 1,700 ft (518 m).

He later mentioned that he was not interested in breaking the world record and did not even file his attempt but only wanted to hit the $1 million target for the GoFundMe campaign.

3. Shin Ito – Exited From an Airplane and Flew 17.8 Miles!

On 26 May 2012, Shin Ito, a Japanese skydiver and wingsuit pilot broke two world records for “the greatest horizontal distance flown in a wingsuit” at 16.7 miles (26.9 km) and “the greatest absolute distance flown in a wingsuit” at 17.8 miles (28.7 km) – which were later broken by Kyle and Andy.

The jump was also made in Yolo County in California. Shin raised awareness for his wingsuit company, Risk Control Corp (the copyright holders of Birdman®), which is one of the leading manufacturers of modern wingsuits.

If you want to know more about the invention of modern wingsuits, check out this post.

4. Valery Rozov Set The World Record For The Highest BASE Jump

Valery Rozov was a Russian BASE jumper and wingsuit pilot who set a world record in 2016 for the highest BASE jump ever made. He jumped from the 25,300 ft (7,700 m) and flew for approximately two minutes before landing safely. He approximately traveled a distance of 5.1 miles (8.2 km)

The jump was part of a Red Bull project called “Mission: Himalayas” and took two years of preparation. Cho Oyu, also known as “Turquoise Goddess” in Tibetan, is considered one of the easiest 8,000-meter peaks to climb. It was chosen by the Red Bull team due to its location, accessibility, and safety.

Rozov’s jump from Cho Oyu was not without risk, as the thin air at that altitude made it difficult to breathe and the cold temperatures were dangerous. He had to wear a special suit and oxygen tanks to survive at that altitude.

As happens with so many professional skydivers, Valery Rozov died on 11th November 2017 while attempting a wingsuit jump in the Himalayas.

5. Alexey Galda – Jumped Within Competition Rules and Flew a Distance of 3.2 Miles

Alexey Galda is an American Theoretical Physicist, wingsuit pilot, and US Performance Team Captain.

He competed at the 2017 FAI World Cup held in Overton, Nevada during which he set a new world record for the longest wingsuit flight in history when he covered a horizontal distance of 3.2 miles (5.1 km) within the competition rules of an exit altitude of 3,300 ft (1,000 m).

He is still an active wingsuit pilot and US Team member.

I’ve covered a lot about various skydiving disciplines in this discussion. However, if you’re curious about jumpsuits beyond wingsuits, dive into my blog post “what are skydiving suits called” that explores unique jumpsuit variations and their significance in specific skydiving disciplines.

Can a Jet-Powered Wingsuit Help You Travel Farther?

The world of human flight is reaching new heights with the help of cutting-edge technology. One of the most exciting projects on the horizon is the “Jet-Powered Wingsuit Project,” led by Jarno Cordia, a legendary wingsuit pilot, BASE jumper, and skydiver.

After months of hard work and dedication, Jarno and his team successfully constructed and tested a revolutionary wingsuit equipped with jet boots and fuel tanks. In October 2019, they conducted a series of initial flight tests to evaluate the suit’s aerodynamics and fuel tanks, as well as a parachute deployment test.

The team then took their invention to the skies, ascending to an awe-inspiring 5,000 ft (1,524 m) via hot air balloon. Jarno then made the leap of a lifetime, soaring through the air at a height of 4,000 ft (1,220 m) with 85% power and 65 kg thrust. His first powered flight lasted for an exhilarating 2 minutes and 25 seconds, during which he covered a distance of 2.6 miles (4.3 km).

Jet-Powered Wingsuit Will Increase The Flying Distance

But Jarno wasn’t satisfied with just one successful flight. He made a second jump from the same height, this time clocking in an impressive 2 minutes and 48 seconds in the air and covering a distance of 2.9 miles (4.8 km).

The project was a resounding success, and the team is now working on an even more advanced design, featuring wing-shaped fuel tanks and engines that are currently undergoing tunnel testing. Jarno Cordia and his team are pushing the limits of human flight and making the impossible, possible.

With these new inventions, it is only a matter of time until new world records are set!

Enjoy your freefall!

Kai Schmidt

Hi, I'm Kai. The first time I jumped out of an airplane and experienced free fall was one of the most amazing moments of my life. For me, skydiving does not only stand for freedom and independence but being present in the moment and being respectful to others and oneself. Now I want to share what I’ve learned with you.

Recent Posts

The image shows the historic record-holders for the farthest and fastest wingsuit flights.